BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A tunnel is not the best place for a train to derail, but it happened under Baltimore. It was Amtrak’s passenger train, the Silver Meteor. WJZ first reported the accident Monday.
Alex DeMetrick has details of the accident and the tunnel it happened in.
Fortunately, the derailment caused no injuries–just plenty of inconvenience.
The engine is the workhorse of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor but for reasons that still aren’t clear, the front wheels of one slipped off the track inside the Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel, known more commonly as the B&P Tunnel.
None of the cars it was pulling from New York to Miami derailed and no one was hurt, but train schedules certainly took a hit. North-south service to Baltimore was stopped on Amtrak and MARC commuter trains.
“The train is backed up two hours so far,” said one passenger.
“I’m just waiting for them because they say there will be a train but they don’t know what time,” said another.
A few hours later, passengers were boarding again but delays persisted with only one track in the tunnel in service.
It was still a slow go Tuesday morning for rail commuters headed to D.C.
“We were delayed 30 to 60 minutes during the morning rush hour due to a damaged train on the tracks,” said MTA spokesperson Paulette Austrich.
By 8 a.m., the engine was out of the tunnel and schedules returned to normal.
There’s no indication the tunnel itself is to blame but the B&P has been a recurring concern. It stretches under Bolton Hill for nearly a mile and a half and is more than 100 years old. It is one of four old links on the Northeast Corridor Congress has been warned about.
“We’ve got this problem of century-old infrastructure which is being held together by Amtrak with Band Aids and baling wire,” said Bob Yarow, Congressional Field Hearing.
There are plans to route trains around the B&P Tunnel, but so far, there are no plans for the billion dollars it will cost.
The 158 passengers from the tunnel were taken by bus to the BWI station and then to another train for their journey south.
A number of MARC commuters that found themselves stranded and were forced to take taxis home will be reimbursed. Details are at the MTA’s website.
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